Koetsu vs Dynavector

I am looking at new (well new to me anyway) cartridges for my turntable. I have found a couple of interesting candidates but given that cartridges are one of the hardest things to purchase because of the problems of arranging home trials, I am interested in other peoples opinions. I am looking at the Koetsu Urushi's (either a Vermillion or a Black) or a Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua or XV1. I realize there is a bit of a price spread at normal retail but there are some demo issues that level the field a bit. My system is as follows Oracle Delphi MkIV with a highly modified Rega arm running into a modified Mod Squad Phono Drive. This all runs into a Sonic Euphoria Transformer based volume control. The amp is a custom tube amp based on the 6L6 tube (using NOS Tung Sol 5881 at the moment). This puts out twenty watts of PP power to a pair of Quad ESL 63. The cables are a mix of Homegrown Audio silver interconnects with Eichman silver RCA jacks and Analysis Audio Silver speaker cables.
My musical preferences lie in the smaller scale more introspective sphere on this system (I have a Altec Lansing based horn setup for rocking out). Anything from Frank and Ella to Johhny Cash to Bob Dylan to Dianna Krall. I also love the instruments that share the vocal sound. I gravitate to cello, saxophone and trombone over guitar and piano. I want to here the tone and texture of the voice as my first priority and timing a bit further down the line. My listening room is a bit on the large side (30' x 50' x 25') and has a very live acoustic. It has polished concrete floors and 115 year old plaster walls (I live in an 1893 Methodist church).
I welcome any opinions but I am mostly looking for people with actual hands on experience with either the Koetsus or the Dynavectors.

Well you're in luck Dan......I had at one time, a Koetsu Urishi and I now have a Dynavector DV1s as well as a ZYX Universe.
I must say that you are certainly contemplating 2 radically differently sounding cartridges and your preferences will be greatly system dependent.
Personally I find the Koetsus to be too laid-back and 'rolled-off' (at both extremes), to be convincing at musical retrieval.....but if your system and room were exceeding bright and reverberant, it may be a good match?
The XV1s is simply a damn good cartridge with virtually no faults other than a slight lack of emotional depth.
If you could find both second hand on Audiogon, you could easily sell the one you didn't like for virtually no loss?
Where would you put the ZYX Universe in this mix?
Whilst the ZYX Universe shares almost all of the DV1s' sonic vitues (solid bass, realistic mids and etherial highs), in every arm I've mounted it and on both TTs I've used it, it has the ability (unique amongst all the cartridges I've ever heard), to simply disappear!
Mounted on a fine arm fixed to a fine turntable, I've found the Universe to be the closest I've ever heard to the sound of Master Tape.
PS Rloggie,
I just LOVE your system!
I also had many years ago, the Clearaudio Concerto cartridge which you are running, and was very pleased with it.
I've just logged about two humdred hours on the Clearaudio and feel its just now broken in. I think it sounds great, but have had my eye on the ZYX and DV1s. More fuel for my obsession. Thanks for the comments, drop by for a listen!
Ditto what Halcro posted about all of these cartridges. Short of a Universe I would, and did, go for the XV-1s. Koetsu house sound just isn't to my liking for the music I listen to most often and it seems I listen to about the same mix of music as the OP. For what it's worth.
Hey - I've got those pillows too!

Only wish I had the same picture of palm trees outside my window - way too cold this past week.

Halcro, I don't mean to take issue with your opinion of the Koetsu Urushi, but my experience is quite different. In my system I am getting great bass and fantastic treble from the Urushi. And of course the midrange is to die for. Whether or not it's "laid back" is something I cannot quite grapple with, unless I did a comparison with a number of other hi-end cartridges. Obviously, a lot depends upon downstream components, one's listening habits, and one's preferences, which is my main point. But in fact, in my listening room, I am usually thinking about ways to tame the bass response a bit, rather than to enhance it.
I tried both the Koetsu Urushi and XV-1s in my system when buying my turntable. In my system the XV-1s was the better choice (more open, faster, not as laidback as the Urushi). I ended up buying aTe Kaitora Rua but switched to XV-1s after a couple of months. All cartridges on Avid Acutus/DV 507MKII.

A friend of mine later bought the same Urushi for his SME20/V combo and this sounds great. On the warm side of neutral, but I really like it.

This is down to matching and preferences, but I would say that det Koetsu is more lush/romantic sounding than the XV-1s.
I feel that there is no "best" piece of audio gear. There is only a best for a specific listener, in a specific space with a specific setup. This is why I always try and post as much context as possible about my preferences and associated gear when I post on a forum. For me that "real person" feeling in the core of midrange is the most important thing. This is the range that the human ear is the most sensitive to for a variety of evolutionary reasons. It is also the area that conveys the bulk of the emotional meaning of the music. While I certainly appreciate the bombast of the bass drums in large scale orchestral music and the subtle timing that a well played high-hat can add to a rock or jazz number, they are always secondary to me. Sure they still convey some emotional meaning (the bombast tells me to be scared or elated for example) but I think the bulk of the meaning, even in a generally large scale work like the 1812 Overture for example comes from the musicians working in the middle of the sound range. In an ideal world it would be great to have that midrange covered beautifully as well as the extension to the extremes of the frequency range with perfect timing accuracy. Unfortunately this ideal is not realistic even for those on the most extreme of budgets (which I am not). We all make choices about what is the most important to us and chose to maximize those priorities (this is true in all aspects of life, not just audio).

To tell the truth, even if one of the posters to this forum had exactly the same system as I do and a very similar room and similar tastes in music, I still would not blindly follow his recommendation. The choice is far too individual. The reason I post is to hear some of the differing opinions and try and synthesize a view on the world that works with my own preferences. So keep it coming with "Koetsu's are grossly coloured", "Koetsu's are made by magic elves with special magnets made from metoers that were sent to earth in the Great Age of Sound by the God of HIFI (and that is not J Gordon Holt and certainly not Harry Pearson). You should bow down before them and not even subject them to the insult of playing anything less than the most Holy of music (Famous Blue Raincoat by J Warnes, I think).", "Rega is crap and shouldn't have anything more valuable than a cactus needle for a stylus" and "Rega is the only true tonearm and all other tonearms are actually machined from the femur of the devil to ensnare us into spending too much money".
Am I missing something or did a post get deleted or something? It seems like the respondents are being very reasonable and honest in their descriptions? It would seem that this type of feedback is what one would hope for when conducting research.
Someone has dust in their needle.
Dan, with the threads posted here and and AA, I believe the Urushi fit in well with your taste and requirement.

I have the old Urushi (retipped by Koetsu Japan) and have to agree with Halco its highs roll off a bit. I think it will be good enough with your speaker. I buy Urushi simply because of its lushness in mid range, other area of deficiency is less important to me. If you are looking for a cartridge with good balance frequency spectrum, don't try Urushi.
Dear Djeickme75 : IMHO there are some subjects here that we have to take in count to make a cartridge choice ( btw, I agree with Halcro that the XV-1 and Urushis are different even between the Koetsus. )

While the Urushi Vermillion is a very low output at 0.2mv the Urushi Black is 0.4mv: big difference here. While the Koetsus are low compliance cartridges ( 5cu ) the XV-1 are a medium one ( 10 cu ) and with an output between the Koetsus ( 0.33mv. ).

All these cartridge facts/specs tell us that we have to take care to match either cartridge with the right tonearm and with the right top quality phono stage too, these two " considerations " are a must to achieve the real top quality performance on each cartridge.

You say that own a modified Rega tonearm and a modified Mod Squad phono stage that for me tell us almost nothing to give you a more precise advise about.

These cartridges are not a " cheap " ones ( over 4K ) and if your Rega/Mod Squad are not up to the task ( that maybe are not, I can't be sure. ) then IMHO you are only " loosing " your time and money on the subject and maybe you can't achieve what you are looking for.

Btw you can achieve what you want with either of those cartridges with the right equipment ( synergy ) and set up.

Dan, btw which cartridge do you own/use?

Regards and enjoy the music.
I have used neither of these cartridges despite being, as a VPI dealer, able to get the Dynavector at a favorable price. I have used some of their predecessors and can agree that they are going to sound quite different. Also the room and characteristics of the system will have a large effect which is hard to predict. If I ever fell on my head and as a result was willing to spend big bucks on a cartridge I would get a Koetsu Red, but then I use transistors; so the Dynavector might well be the better choice with your tube system if you follow the principal that you balance rather than reinforce the rest of the system with the cartridge.
You guys make me think I'm going deaf. I hear no significant roll-off of the treble (compared for example to my CD player) with my Koetsu Urushi. I live in the Washington, DC, area. If anyone wants to come hear my "rolled off" system, please contact me privately. Bring records with which you are familiar. It might be fun.
What would you like to know about the Rega? None of the commonly done Rega mods alter the arms characteristics in any meaningful way. The effective mass is the same with the mods as without. The dampening is the same with or without. Until you get into some of the radical mods that are really beyond the average consumer (drilling the arm to change the mass or filling the arm with dampening material) the basic characteristics are fixed by the basic design. But in the interest of complete disclosure. The arm is a basic RB250 with the Incognito wiring kit that has been upgraded with Eichmann RCA jacks. The counterweight has been replaced with the Michell TecnoWeight and the arm has been fitted with the VTAF Teflon upgrade to allow easy optimization of VTA. The arm has not been stripped of its paint as I am suspect as to how much dampening a thin layer of powder coat can supply, so I haven't bothered to take the time to mess with such things.

In terms of the Mod Squad Phono, I can't be that much more specific. I don't have exact gain figures for it and I am not really sure they would supply much additional info anyway as I also don't have a gain value for the amp. If you are implying that total gain may be an issue, I would agree with you. That has been a concern with both the lower output Koetsu and the Dynavectors. The confounding variable here though is who do you believe in terms of cartridge output. The Koetsu Vermillion lists at 0.2mV on the KoetsuUsa site but the Stereophile review of said cartridge list it at 0.4mV. So I guess overall system gain is indeed a sticking point for our discussion but I don't think there is any easy was around this. The other criteria that you may have been looking for is loading for the cartridge. The Mod Squad has variable loading but off the top of my head I can't remember the values. The loading is easy to change via a simple knob so I suspect that I could easily find something that was at least in the ball park for most cartridges.

Currently I am a bottom dwelling of the cartridge world. I have a Grado Reference Platinum and a Zu modified Denon 103. The Grado is on my old Oracle Alexandria and the Zu is on my Lenco L70. The Zu is a bit of a challenge for the phono stage but it seems to get by without to much trouble but I will admit that I don't have any room to spare on gain. I love the Grado with voices. There are much more reach out and touch them than the Zu but the Zu has a propulsive sound that really keeps things going. I like the Grado for the majority of my listening as per my previous posts I gravitate to smaller scale vocal work but I must admit when the urge to crank up some classic Hendrix or Clapton strikes I would always lean towards the Zu. I intend to keep the Zu around and perhaps get a transformer to allow me to use it into the MM stage of the Mod Squad.

Hope that clarifies things enough to satisfy the detail oriented posters on this forum.

Don't think I forgot anything relevant.......perhaps only that my favourite colour is orange.
Well like everyone else here my opinion is worth a cup of coffee when you throw in $1.00.

I have an Oracle V with turbo supply, IO signature with two supplies and volume controls and use USA monitors and PK 57 ESLs. So our systems share some similiarities.

I have used a Dynavector 17D3 and now use a Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum in a SME V.

Your room is enormous and I listen nearfield no more than about 9ft, back of the speakers. I think the Dyna and Koetsu are quite different and yes every Koetsu up to the RSP may not sound rolled off in isolation but plug in Platinum or any .2mV stone model and you will hear eery shimering detail that is haunting and missing from the others. The Dynas are faster overall. Can't beat that midrange and the top end in the (higher end .2mV) Koetsus. Top end is not as extended as some of the very expensive Clearaudio though for example. Bottom end is challenged somewhat but with quads and the right amps there's nothing like quick planar bass.

Stretch your budget and go for a stone model Koetsus or the RSP it should give you most of what you are looking for.
In short...High end Koetsu's climb toward absolute TECHNOCOLOR!
in short...Top Dynavectors are "archeologists" of sound!

Think about it.
I think I am leaning towards the Koetsu's to be quite frank (not sure about the suggested jump to something in the Platinum line, I think my wife would send me to the curb for that) but just for hypothetical fun let's propose another option. If one were to be able to find say a Te Kaitora Rua for about $1500 (used obviously) and a Koetsu Black (Not a Urushi just a simply Black) for say $1000, one could have both cartridges to play with. Now the VTAF upgrade on the Rega allows you to swap the arm just by lifting it out of the mount and fitting another in. So lets add another $400 for a second modified Rega arm. For just shy of $3000 (which seems to be about fair market value on demo and used Urushi's and XV1) you could pick and choose between the family sounds. Granted you wouldn't have scaled the heights of the cartridge mountain to quite the same height but it could be another fun option. (Not really sure how practical this would be from the wife approval point of view as she is already a bit reluctant to play a record on her own, imagine if I told her she had to chose a cartridge first....Oh Boy)
Dear Dan: Well there is other confuse information: I know that the Platinum series has 0.2mv but now on the Koetsu official site you and I can read: 0.3mv ?????, there is no echnical reference about.

Now, for what you posted on your tonearm and phono stage IMHO I don't think that those audio items can do real " justice " to either of those MC cartridges: IMHO you don't have the right analog rig ( those both items ) to match those cartridges but you can buy either of those MC cartridges if you think to up-grade/change your today tonearm and phono stage.

Now, the good news are that there are other very good options that can/could even your Koetsu/Dyna alternatives using your today tonearm/phono stage.

Options: Nagaoka MP-50, Grado Amber The Tribute, Reson Reca, Clearaudio Maestro/virtuoso, the new MM Ortofon line, B&O MMC 1 or 2, Soundsmith The Voice, etc, etc.

You can achieve your targets with these cartridges and with one additional advantage: low price against those MC cartridges that you are looking for.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Have your heard the new Ortofon MM Carts specifically the bronze
I will be mounting this on my rb300 arm and Lenco Table
"Rega is the only true tonearm and all other tonearms are actually machined from the femur of the devil to ensnare us into spending too much money".

Damn! and here I thought it was just the jaw bone of an ass! (except for air bearing linear trackers, of course)
I really have to laugh at all the out of hand dismissals of the Mod Squad as a phono stage.

First of all I doubt that most people have ever heard it as it was not a product with large distribution, so I am not sure how qualified most people are to speak on it's merits and likewise weaknesses.

Second, if we take it that most people are basing their opinion (and my sincerest apologies to anyone who has had significant experience with the unit and has made comments) on something other than actual first hand experience, I wonder where these opinions are coming from. It certainly isn't that people are basing them on the published reviews. The only review that I have found pitted the Mod Squad against the cult classic John Curl Vendetta. This was in Stereophile in January 1989 and was written by John Atkinson. In the review he clearly states (and the review in on Sterephile's website) "The main audible difference between the two phono preamplifiers was caused by noise". He admits that the Mod Squad is very slightly noisier with very low output MC cartridges than the Vendetta but that the noise is only obtrusive when music is not playing in a silent room. He then goes on to catalogue the various strengths of each stage and for every area that the Vendetta wins the Mod Squad wins another. There is clearly nothing in this review to suggest the Mod Squad is a second class citizen.

I wonder if it is just that the phono stage is old. If it were a CD player I would concur whole heartedly that it can't keep up with current players but in phono stages (and really in amplification in general) this can't really be said. Many of the "great" phono stages of that era like the Vendetta and certain Counterpoint models have gained a cult status and are closely guarded by there owners. If we accept that the Mod Quad might just be a member of this class, then one must also dismiss those legendary stages as subpar as well. Just because something is old doesn't mean it is less good. Think of the Japanese FM tuners of the 1960's and 1970's. You are hard pressed to match the classic Sansui's and Kenwood's with the best of todays tuners (and certainly can't come close to a value comparison). The phono gear from the late eighties was many companies swan song in terms phono gear (or at least that is what they thought at the time). They thought that the LP was dead so they threw all the resources they had (best parts, full balance of accumulated knowledge, etc) at making the "last great" phono gear. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the phono products from this era.
Dear Musicfile: Not the Bronze but the Black and not in my system and I have to say that is very good performer and the Bronze I understand is almost the same cartridge and I could say it is a good performer too.

I'm interested on your cartridge quality performance, if you can email me when already " settle-down ".

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Dan: Please don't laugh you posted in your thread: +++++ " I welcome any opinions ...." +++++, so try to honor your word.

Many years ago I have the opportunity to heard several times ( audio friend ) the Mod Squad De Luxe with medium output cartridges and was a good item.
You posted: +++++ " The Zu is a bit of a challenge for the phono stage but it seems to get by without to much trouble but I will admit that I don't have any room to spare on gain.... " +++++, well one of the Koetsu are lower on output than the ZU and in the other hand and with all respect IMHO both the Koetsus and XV-1 deserve a better " treatment " that the one that can give your phono stage.

Anyway, is your money and if buying a 4K low output MC cartridge to run on your today phono stage makes you happy then be happy, everyone deserve it.

Dan, you ask and my answer is an honest one trying to help you to achieve what you are looking for in the best way according my knowledge about.

Regards and enjoy the music.

I'm not saying that your unit is " second class " as you point out: what I'm saying is that those " first class " cartridges deserve a better " treatment " .
I own both the XV-1 and Koetsu Rosewood. Both are wonderful musical cartridges.
The dyna is a little more dynamic than the rosewood and has more extension in the upper frequencies ( not a lot but easily noticable). the dyna is more neutral top to bottom, whereas the rosewood has a liitle presence in the upper mids which project's some forwardness compared to the dyna. the rosewood has a little warmth in the mid bass that the dyna does not have.
the rosewood does help on some HOT recordings by being a little more relaxed in the upper frequencies.

An Ortofon SPU would be ideal for your vocal and small scale jazz tastes if you have a tionearm with removable headshell.
As I said in my post, I welcome the opinions of those who have had direct experience with the Mod Squad. I am simply commenting on the general trend in these posts for people to make broad ranging comments based on little, if any actual experience with a product. For those who this is not applicable to, feel free to comment but a comment with some "meat" more welcome. Simply saying that a product is bad is of no use at all. Do you think it is a compatibility issue? Do you think it is a sound quality issue? etc. I would also say that the personal attacks on my character are not welcome. I never attacked any individual in my postings. I simply commented on the general flavour of some of the postings.

Now on to specifics. The Zu has an output of 0.3mV. The cartridges that we have largely been discussing (the Koetsu Urushi and the Dynavector XV1s) have this much or more output. The only cartridges that I mentioned that have less are the Vermillion at 0.2 and the Kaitora at 0.26. So at least half the cartridges are of greater output so gain should not be an issue with them. For the other two, I again reiterate that a compatibility issues is very different than a quality issue. I have also clearly said that I agree that overall gain might be an issue with the lowest output cartridges. I doubt anyone is implying that phono stage quality can be simply gauged by overall gain, so perhaps we can stop dismissing the phono stage simply as having too little gain.

I would suggest that $4000 on a cartridge rarely makes any sense. This is not however what we are really discussing here. I have said that I am looking at a variety of cartridges at demo, used and closeout prices. This makes the cartridges much closer to $2000-2500. I don't agree that in such a price context, the cartridges that I have mentioned are out of line for the system that I have.

I would also argue that the typical idea of the turntable being the most important piece followed by the arm and then the cartridge is flawed logic. If you subscribe to the Linn school of thought that "Garbage in, equals garbage out", the logical extension is that the most important piece is the cartridge. It has the most difficult job in many ways as the only piece that has to actually change physical energy (groove modulations) into electrical energy. The other parts of the system can only serve to mess up the info retrieved by the cartridge. So I would say put the cartridge first and then allocate less to the rest of the chain (at least until you get to the speakers which have the next most difficult job, transferring electrical energy to physical energy).
I disagree that the cartridge is the most critical choice. Actually the tonearm is more important.

An excellent tonearm and average cartridge will outperform an average tonearm and excellent cartridge all day long.

That is not an opinion; it is a fact based on years of listening to hundreds of tonearm/cartridge combinations.
Dear Djeickme: IMHO trying to discuss on an electronic audio item ( specially a phono stage ) that was designed more than 20 years ago is useless for say the least.

+++++ " "The main audible difference between the two phono preamplifiers was caused by noise". He admits that the Mod Squad is very slightly noisier with very low output MC cartridges... " ++++++

so the gain is not the only issue there are several along the noise.

Perhaps you think that that phono stage ( by the today phono stage standards ) is up to the task to really match the XV-1 or Urushi, fine with me.

+++++ " can only serve to mess up the info retrieved by the cartridge " +++++

here IMHO the tonearm and phono stage have a critical " job " because depend on which tonearm is the cartridge matched to the signal quality performance and depend too with which phono stage that cartridge signal must pass through. Remember that is in the phono stage where IMHO that cartridge signal can/could " suffer " a severe degradation due to it " heavy " process on the signal to achieve the right gain ( in many cases almost 10,000 times before could be amplified for the system’s amplifier. ) and to conform according the RIAA eq.

One target in an analog audio system is ( regarding the cartridge signal ) add the less and loosing the less too, trying to preserve the cartridge signal integrity.

Anyway is your " call " and certainly you will do what makes you happy!, good.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I agree with Audiofeil.
After more than 30 years of serious listening and only recently having acquired the Continuum Copperhead and DaVinci 12" Reference Grandezza, I have come to the realisation that the tone-arm is more important than the cartridge and perhaps even the turntable?
As for the Linn philosophy of 'source first' hierachy......I realised the fallacy of this years ago.
In my opinion the speakers always come first together with the room with which they are matched. Next comes the amplifier that drives those speakers the best. Everything else falls into place when you can get these right?
Signing off.

I have realized that life is too short to engage in these audiophilia nervosa discussions.

At the end of the day all that matters is each person feeling good about their own choices. That can never happen in a forum like this unless you shape your opinions to fit the masses of the forum.

So I leave all of you to you opinions (and suggest to Audiofeil that "fact" is an awfully strong word to throw around. I am not really sure that I know any "facts" and I work in a world that is supposedly driven by science {I am a ER physician}).

Just to tidy things up a bit further, I have decided not to go to the exalted heights of the Urushi. I am going to stay at the Soundsmith, Cartridge Man, Grado level. Is this because of the discussion here. Yes but only indirectly. I have decided that life is too short to worry about getting the best and all I want to do is have some fun listening to music. Perhaps I will keep track of all the albums I am able to buy with the $1000 I save and post to this forum as the biggest justification in the world for a "lesser cartridge".

Thanks for all the opinions (even the ones I strongly disagree with, for the only thing that really allows you to truly understand yourself is be challenged on your beliefs; Socrates was correct "An unexamined life is not worth living)

That was Henry David Thoreau, unless he was quoting Socrates. Perhaps this is a "fact".
"Garbage in/garbage out", if not "source first" per se, is irrefutable, and is not in conflict with the fact that speakers/room make gross differences that would seem to eclipse the source, nor with the fact that the amplifier/speaker relationship is critical, any more than it is in conflict with the fact that the arm is more critical than the cartridge. It is simply that the arm/cartridge relationship is too intimate to consider as simplistically as you're suggesting. Following your logic is analogous to saying that all you need is a good stylus regardless of the cantilever and cartridge motor assembly. No need to fly in the face of those who know better on this topic.
Dear Djeickme75: +++++ " to engage in these audiophilia nervosa discussions. " +++++

that depend of what you are looking for, IMHO " these audiophilia nervosa ... " are almost always a learning ones for almost every one.

+++++ " At the end of the day all that matters is each person feeling good about their own choices. That can never happen in a forum like this unless you shape your opinions to fit the masses of the forum. " +++++

not necessary because the " target " is not to fit the masses opinion but to fit our own targets.
The other forum opinions help to learn how we can or can't achieve in a better/easy way what we are looking for. No one is angry because your opinion or other opinion is different and I can say that almost always the opinions are a honest ones.

IMHO I think that in this Analog Forum you and any one else has/have a tremendous advantage " hearing/knowing " different opinions from different people with different experience/know-how levels, IMHO this fact is priceless and we have to appreciate that we have it.

Dan, don't go I'm sure you are always welcome here!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
As others have pointed out, perhaps the better move for the OP is to upgrade other components before looking to add a cartridge that is beyond these other pieces.

I agree with Raul, Dan is certainly welcome here. However, if flame wars are what one is looking for, I would suggest another forum. They don't really happen that often here in the A'gon Analog Forum.

I'm not really sure what Dan is saying about SoundSmith. Peter retipped my XV-1s and he did a beautiful job. I'm not sure which "exalted heights" that puts SoundSmith in.
Just a final parting thought. It was Socrates not Thoreau. Socrates said it at his trial for heresy. He was given the option of living a life that didn't involved questioning everything (basically he was told to shut up and quite questioning his betters or die). He choose death because he was unwilling to live "The unexamined life". Thoreau may have said it latter but it was most certainly Socrates that this sentiment was originally attributed to.
Thoreau quoted Socrates in "On Walden Pond". My bad,
Good Grief! They're just records folks!!!
OK. The un-examined phono stage is not worth listening to. This is just a hobby; these devices are just interesting toys that have the added benefit of producing great music.
As I remember from the old "Hi-Fi Answers" days, the Koetsu(Rosewood or Black in those days) sounded like the Denon 103. Actually, it was the other way around. Having owned the Rosewood, I have fond memories of its sound(It needs a re-tip.). Now Raul, I'm not sure Djeickme75 knows about your expertise in phono stages and your MM cartridge preferences(with what looks like good reason). I think to fully understand the "source first" argument you had to be there when it was first proposed(by there, I don't mean the USA-they didn't get it.).
If anyone is interested in differences in Koetsus and indeed other cartridges, take a look at the 10audio site, lots of good sensible opinions, though only one persons of course. I used a Rosewood Signature bought second hand on the Gon for 3 years and really loved it. Chenged to a ZYx airy 3 which was just ok. Recently changed to a Benz micro LP, my favourite cartridge ever. They seem to get no respect and they are more costly in the US, cheaper in Europe. The LP will do me for some years, I think